George Negus of SBS Dateline has just spoken to Australia's best journalist, Paul McGeogh. Recent winner of the George Perkin Award for Journalism, McGeogh was chatting about Iraq and yet again predicted it's descent into chaos. He refused to acknowledge any input of the US, refused to accept that intervention in Iraq has influenced the region's push for democracy, and refused to accept that Iraq is better without Saddam than with.
George left him without asking a crucial question. Where is the evidence to support the claim that the Iraqi PM executed prisoners in cold blood in prison? False but essentially true? Maybe it is symbolic. An analogy for the killing of Iraqi's by faceless assassins. Or it may be he's just making shit up.
Once the transcript is up, read McGeogh's responses and see if you can spot his Pilgerish moment.
UPDATE: News is early. Transcript available here
So what did McGeogh say to be equated to John Pilger? Another little outburst about the stability of Iraq and how much 'the people' miss their revered leader. Once again , no names, no pack drill.
"PAUL McGEOUGH: Well, one of the big problems that I have with affairs as they're covered these days is that everything has to be given a label - the Rose Revolution, the Purple Revolution, the Cedar Revolution, the Arab spring and the false dawn. It's too early to be using any of these terms. We're dealing with people's lives, we're dealing with the circumstances in which they live and the reality in the Middle East and in Iraq in particular, is that there still hasn't been enough of an advance to say that life is better. I mean Westerners are shocked when Iraqis, ordinary Iraqis will say to you, "God, I wish we had Saddam back." [Ed: Surely that should read Allah?]
GEORGE NEGUS: Really? How often do you hear that?
PAUL McGEOUGH: You can hear it several times a week.
GEORGE NEGUS: What do they mean when they say it?
PAUL McGEOUGH: They mean that, for all his faults, there was law and order, there was security."
What more can be said? He's not actually saying tha he supports the statement, but is quite willing to repeat the claims without bidding. Let's clear this up. Paul McGeogh claims that Iraqi people have told him several times a week that they wish Saddam was back in power. I wonder which people they would be? Perhaps the same people continuing to cause mayhem and destruction to the peace and stability of Iraq? That thought never crossed McGeogh's tiny mind at all. George Negus is not much better either.
"GEORGE NEGUS: And no government.
PAUL McGEOUGH: We still don't have a government.
GEORGE NEGUS: No government. So-called democracy, I guess you could call it...."
That passage is just before the quoted text above btw. Perhaps George hasn't heard of the Iraqi Assemblies inaugural sitting on March 16. It's not like the Iraqi's have had any difficulties in creating conditions for democracy in their country. A 30 year dictatorship. Numerous regional wars. A province determined to separate itself from the state. Ethnic groups with as much in common as Caths and Prots. Yeah, I know, it's only 6 weeks since Iraq's general elections were held, and that's apparently WAY TOO SLOW for Democracy George. So-called journalist....I guess you could call him...
So how does Paul the Philosopher reconcile the actions of the US in relation to recent Middle East events?
"GEORGE NEGUS: It depends what day of the week you ask, that's for sure. But is it the case that the fact that the election occurred in Iraq and the fact that these other things have been occurring in other parts of the Middle East, how much do you attribute that - as other people do - to the fact that Bush may have been right in the first place by invading?
PAUL McGEOUGH: There's two ways to look at it, one is if you look at it as the package of events that have happened in the last few weeks, and say this coincides with Bush's rhetoric, therefore Bush was right, you could get away with that argument if you want to. But if you take the package of events as they've unfolded - in Lebanon the unrest started and the street demonstrations started because of a murder. Bush didn't commit the murder, nobody's suggesting that.
In the occupied territories, with the Palestinians, events started moving at a different pace and in a different groove because of the death of Yasser Arafat. The Saudi elections, the Saudi elections are a joke, they're sop to Western pressure. That's not..."
By all accounts, Paul isn't letting anyone get away with that particular argument. Not now. Not ever. Give credit where credit is due. The death of Arafat. The death of the Lebanese PM. Saudi elections. Sops to Western pressure, every last one of 'em. Finally, how's that Iraqi civil war thing you've got going on Paul? Any word?
"GEORGE NEGUS: So much so that you've even suggested recently in one [Ed: One? Try over a DOZEN!] of your pieces that you think there's still a real possibility of civil war in Iraq.
PAUL McGEOUGH: Yes, my inclination on Iraq at this stage still is a gut feel that things will get better in Iraq but they may not get better this side of a civil war."
Ladies and gentlemen, I give you Australia's best journalist. Or has been noted elsewhere, a member of the presstitute.
Crossposted at Bastards Inc.